All posts by Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.

AMI’s Four Senses to return for second season

Carl and Christine

From a media release:

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announced today that its cooking show with an accessibility twist, Four Senses, will begin production on season two in the fall. Additionally, episodes from season one are now available on Air Canada domestic flights. Four Senses is a unique food show produced by AMI in conjunction with Varner Productions Limited that unites blind and sighted chefs in the kitchen. Hosts Christine Ha and Carl Heinrich are back for season two to whip up delicious dishes with a new lineup of celebrity guests. Each 30-minute show will also include discussions related to eye disease and accessibility tips and tools for independence in the kitchen. Season two begins production in Toronto on September 12 and will feature high profile celebrity chefs and guests including: Frank Ferragine (aka Frankie Flowers), Bonnie Stern, Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies, Annabelle Waugh from Canadian Living and Looney Spoons authors and cooking aficionados, Janet and Greta Podleski. Season two will once again contain embedded description, where hosts and guests describe their surroundings and actions for audience members who are blind or partially sighted. “We are so pleased to bring back Four Senses after the overwhelmingly positive response to season one,” says Brian Perdue, Director of Programming for AMI-tv. “It’s a show unlike any other that appeals to a broad audience. Christine and Carl are back with a whole new set of guests, recipes and kitchen tips, all with a focus on accessibility in line with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians.” Additionally, Varner Productions and AMI are pleased to announce the sale of season one of Four Senses to Air Canada for inflight entertainment on domestic flights throughout August and September. Four Senses producer Anne-Marie Varner is thrilled by the success of the program to date. “It’s wonderful to see a show about cooking and accessibility generating such interest and positivity amongst people of all abilities,” she says. “We’re looking forward to reaching a whole new audience through our partnership with Air Canada, and carrying that momentum forward as we begin production on the exciting new season.” Season two of Four Senses will air on AMI-tv in January, 2015.


Let’s make a toast! ET Canada celebrates its 10th season


From a media release:

ET Canada, Canada’s most influential newsmagazine entertainment program celebrates its 10th season beginning Tuesday, September 2 at 7:30pm ET/PT on Global. The 10th season anniversary is chock-full of more exclusives, more specials and even more celebrity. Powerhouse hosts from the very beginning, Cheryl Hickey, Rick Campanelli and Roz Weston continue to serve up entertainment’s latest scoop along with entertainment reporters Sangita Patel, Erin Cebula, Natasha Gargiulo and Matte Babel.

“This iconic brand has flourished by delivering a uniquely Canadian perspective on pop culture, making ET Canada a top destination for entertainment news,” said Barbara Williams, Senior Vice President, Content, Shaw Media. “Boasting a charismatic roster of talent, our audience has embraced us since the show’s inception and will continue to rely on ET Canada for seasons to come.”

ET Canada visits the vault for a collection of Season 10 specials including the most memorable celebrity interviews, blooper moments from behind the scenes, and “Star Evolutions” featuring Hollywood’s biggest names from their humble beginnings to superstardom. Fridays will host “The Ten List” covering a countdown of various topics including host’s fashion faux pas, celebrity mug shots, best New Year’s Eve moments and more.

Part of the world’s largest entertainment news brand, ET Canada has been the go-to destination for A-list entertainment news and reporting since the show premiered on September 12, 2005. From the ET Canada Beach Hop to ET Canada Live; the unforgettable TIFF rooftops parties and Cannes Festival coverage; to New Year’s Eve events and Orange Lounge music exclusives, ET Canada has proven itself as a tastemaker of the Canadian entertainment industry.

“We’re elated to be celebrating 10 seasons, which is a testament to the passion and dedication of our production team, the loyalty of our viewers and the trust of our industry partners,” said Sholeh Fabbri, Executive Producer of ET Canada. “With an extremely talented and imaginative group, we look forward to creating 10 more seasons of distinctly conversational television.”

Viewers can count on ET Canada to let them in on the celebration both on-air and online with countless opportunities to be announced throughout the year. With a robust online following, ET Canada has the leading Twitter and Facebook accounts for entertainment news with 135,000* and 7,400* followers respectively. Generating stories and exclusives that are picked up internationally by some of the most notable outlets, is the most trusted online source in Canada for breaking entertainment news.


Review: ‘Amazing Race’ missteps in Winnipeg

Darn it! My second favourite Amazing Race Canada team has been eliminated. Yup, former ballet superstar Rex Harrington and partner Bob Hope were jettisoned from Tuesday’s Leg after they arrived last in front of Jon Montgomery in Winnipeg’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The two admitted to being shocked at their final placing–they somehow believed they might have been in third place because they saw just two other teams at the dreaded Roadblock, where one had to dress up like a rock star and belt out a tune none of them (or myself) had ever heard. I was a little surprised show producers didn’t select a tune by the Guess Who for everyone to perform–you can’t get more Canadian or Winnipeg-focused than that–but maybe licensing issues put the kibosh on it.

As for my favourite pair, Meaghan and Natalie, they’re still in the thick of it. Barely. They were the first team to arrive at the Detour box after matching world coins to their corresponding flags at the Royal Canadian Mint (I had no clue that A) the Mint made coins for other countries, and B) the Mint was located in Winnipeg.), but made a stupid–and arrogant–move by bypassing the Fast Forward. Yup, instead of finding missing words in antique painted advertising on the sides of downtown buildings and skipping forward to the Pit Stop, they opted for the Detour challenging them to shoot hockey pucks through five different targets on a goal net. I understand them wanting to show off the prowess that won them Olympic gold medals, but they should have been thinking of the Race. Rubbing their hands with glee, Meaghan and Natalie plowed through the first four targets before getting stuck hitting the target between the goalie’s legs. They could only look on in shock as brothers Pierre and Michel, siblings Sukhi and Jinder and buddies Mickey and Pete completed the challenge and departed ahead of the hockey champs.

Alain and Audrey, meanwhile, had their game faces on. Realizing the Fast Forward was still up for grabs, the went for it. The test proved to be more challenging than they initially thought, but they still placed a respectable second behind brothers Michel and Pierre, who used the Express Pass to skip the singing on the way to a first-place finish.

Next week the teams fly to the Normandy coast of France, where they take some time out to remember the Canadians lost during world wars. I’m really enjoying the producers’ decision to use Canada as the main focus of Season 2 while spending time in other countries too. It’s brought a nice mix to the season so far and I wouldn’t be surprised if CBS tried something similar to keep their own version of the Race fresh.

The Amazing Race Canada airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

What did you think of this latest Leg of the Race? Will you miss Rex and Bob? Comment below to let me know! Follow Greg on Twitter!


Much celebrates 30-year anniversary


From a media release:

– Much’s 100 GREATEST VIDEOS EVER highlights iconic videos of last 30 years –
– Much pays homage to 1984 with movie marathons of POLICE ACADEMY, BEVERLY HILLS COP, and REVENGE OF THE NERDS franchises –

TORONTO (August 12, 2014) – In 1984, Prince’s “When Doves Cry” topped the charts, the first Apple Macintosh personal computers landed in stores, fashion was all about aerobics and lace, WHO’S THE BOSS was tops on TV, Madonna’s seminal sophomore album Like A Virgin arrived, and music videos on TV were king. And on August 31, a scrappy little music station was launched that quickly became a community for youth across Canada, thirsting for the latest fix of music and pop culture. Thirty years later, Much takes a look at some of the music and pop culture events that have shaped the channel with the 30-minute special MUCH 30th, premiering Saturday, Aug. 30 at 9 p.m. ET, as well as the 100 GREATEST VIDEOS EVER, starting earlier that day on Saturday, Aug. 30 at 11 a.m. ET.

“Much was a wild and dynamic place to be in the 80s,” said Steve Anthony, Much VJ, 1987-1995. “The MUCH 30th special really shows how through the constantly evolving world of pop culture Much has always been irreverent, cool, and in touch with its audience. It will always be forever young.”

“Every day at Much is a new adventure and MUCH 30th illustrates that,” said Liz Trinnear, current Much VJ. “As a child of the 80s, I know our fans are going to love revisiting some of the events that have shaped Much. Here’s to many more exciting moments to come!”

From legendary icons to incredible unscripted moments, MUCH 30th features current and past Much VJs including Devon Soltendieck, Hannah Sung, Liz Trinnear, Phoebe Dykstra, Steve Anthony, Traci Melchor, and Tyrone Edwards, who share stories and insights from their time on Much. The special revisits some of the biggest and most entertaining happenings in the channel’s 30-year history, including One Direction shutting down the streets around Much HQ in Toronto and giving fans the surprise of a lifetime; a young Mark “Marky Mark” Walhberg stripping down to his skivvies to do abdominal tricks; an interview with Tupac Shakur taped just a week before his death; and Jay Z introducing his then unheard-of protégé, Rihanna, to his fans. The special also includes new interviews with some of the Much audience’s favourite Canadian musicians, including Hedley, k-os, Serena Ryder, and Sam Roberts who recount their times at Much both past and present, as well exclusive anniversary greetings from some of music’s biggest names.


Set visit: The Next Step kicks into high gear

The most unlikely of places often contains the most interesting things. Take The Next Step, for instance. Family Channel’s smash hit tween series is filmed in a nondescript neighbourhood in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it spot: an old high school that’s been decommissioned by the Toronto District School Board.

The only indication anything is happening are the telltale orange traffic pylons that denote television or film production underway in the city. There’s plenty happening on the set of The Next Step. Though the second half of Season 2 has yet to air on Family, the third season is filming now. On the day I visited, creator and showrunner Frank van Keeken (Wingin’ It) was overseeing a key storyline where one member of the dance studio was offered the opportunity of a lifetime, a decision that could affect everyone else on the squad. Those on the team include Michelle (played by Victoria Baldesarra), Emily (Alexandra Beaton), Riley (Brittany Raymond), James (Trevor Tordjman), Eldon (Isaac Lupien), West (Lamar Johnson), Giselle (Jordan Clark), Chloe (Jennifer Pappas), Thalia (Taveeta Szymanowicz), Hunter (Zac Vran), Stephanie (Samantha Grecchi) and Amanda (Logan Fabbro), who showed off their dancing skills during several takes as part of the day’s frantic production schedule.

According to van Keeken, one episode of The Next Step is shot in just over a day, a lightning-quick turnaround when the industry norm is one episode per seven days of shooting. The industry veteran, whose experience goes back to working on The Kids in the Hall, says he wanted to hire dancers rather than actors to fill the roles on The Next Step. As he tells it, he could teach them how to act. Or react; van Keeken gives the kids a scene outline to work with and then they go for broke, giving authenticity to the mockumentary series.

The Next Step attracted 574,000 viewers in its Season 1 debut, making it No. 1 for the network. A 2013 shopping mall tour was a success, original music from the show is available on iTunes and the series airs around the world in such countries as the U.S., the UK, Australia, Italy, Turkey, Croatia, Belgium and Switzerland. Next up: a retail program for fans to connect with the show.

Look for my Next Step feature when Season 2B has been announced.